(1.) The petitioner in both these petitions is Ballapur Industries Ltd., a Company duly established and incorporated under the Companies Act,
1913, having its registered office at Ballarpur, District Chandrapur. It is engaged in the business of manufacturing pulp, paper, paper board and
other paper products in the industry set up sometime in the year 1947.
The industrial bamboo cut is the raw material which is used in the process of
manufacturing. Since 1947, there has been an agreement entered into
between the State Government and the petitioner-Company to harvest
bamboo from the forest area on payment of royalty as per the agreement.
The first agreement was dated 31-7-1947 with the then Government of the
Central Provinces and Berar, and after 1960 with the State Government.
The second agreement was entered into on 10-12-1962 for the period from
14-11-1962 to 30-6-1991.
(2.) The agreement with which these two petitions pertain, was entered into on 11-3-2004 for a period of ten years, commencing from 1-10-2004 and
ending on 30-9-2014. It was for supply of 1,81,540 metric tonnes of bamboo
from the Government forest areas in the Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts,
specified in Schedules A and B to the agreement. Clauses (7)(a) and (b) of
this agreement being relevant, are reproduced below :
"(7) (a) The unit of measurement for the quantities of bamboo available under this Agreement shall be "Metric Tonne' (Air Dry)". The Company shall pay to the Government sale price at the rate of Rs.650/- per A.D.M.T. (Air Dry Metric Tonne) for the quantity of bamboo made available to it for cutting and removal in accordance with Clauses 6 hereinabove, for supplies during the period from 2004- 2005 to 2008-2009. For the subsequent supply years i.e. from 2009- 2010 to 2013-2014, the Company shall pay t he sale price to be fixed with an annual escalation of 5% or the Whole Sale price Index, whichever is higher over the sale price fixed for each preceding supply year in this manner.
(b) The sale price payable by the Company to the Government hereunder for respective supply years as calculated in the manner aforesaid shall be as follows:
(3.) Clause (2)(a) of the agreement defines "Bamboo" for the purposes of agreement as under :
" "Bamboo" shall mean the bamboo extracted from Commercial Bamboo and Nistar Bamboo Felling Series of the concerned Forest Division which are to be used for the purpose of manufacturing pulp, paper, paper boards and other paper products."